The future at the microscope… IC-Tagging: a biotecnological tool based on avian reovirus production

You will know firsthand what the future is to be. Our researchers will present their most promising research lines which aim to not only improve quality of life, but to create jobs, wealth, and social and economic development.

Project

We can consider viruses to be small molecular machines which, through their manipulation, could be converted into biotechnological tools.

Avian reoviruses, by means of the muNS protein matrix, bring about some compartments to be replicated in the cytoplasm of host cells (which they infect), to which they attract all the compounds, in order, required to accomplish viral replication.

Our project consists in reproducing these compartments (by the expression of recombinant proteins in culture cells) and directing other proteins of interest to them. In this way, micro/nano-protein structures are generated, integrated into these compartments and contain precisely one or several proteins of interest, and in their active form.

Besides, this system would actually be a potential technological platform with several applications: to detect protein-protein interactions; generate subunit vaccines; immobilise enzymes, etc.

Expected & obtained results

While the project was underway, we developed a molecular tagging system called IC-tagging which, with by the addition of a small tag (IC), we make the recombinant proteins relocalise in the inclusions (small protein balls) that form the muNS.

We have demonstrated that the integrated proteins maintain their activity and that the system is good for purifying proteins and detecting protein-protein interactions. Besides, we are currently testing their validity as multi-epitope vaccines and for other applications in different fields.

Schedule

While we are gaining a better understanding of these mechanisms, in parallel, we are doing new tests and looking for collaborations to validate the different potential applications for this technological platform in order to licence it for industry.

Copyright

We have requested a patent for the complete system with an international extension (PCT).

Collaborators and project partners

We collaborate with CISA researchers (INIA) in Madrid to validate the use of our methodology in producing vaccines to be used for veterinary purposes.

Internationalisation

We are beginning to collaborate with researchers at the Molecular Immunology International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (Trieste, Italy), who are interested in testing our technology to investigate some intracellular protein trafficking phenomena which are currently not well-characterised.

Our technology, IC-tagging, can offer a substantial advantage over the existing study methods available today.

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